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The Odd Truth, Feb. 24, 2005

The Odd Truth is a collection of strange but factual news stories from around the world compiled by CBSNews.com's Joey Arak.

Pants Dismissed!

KEY WEST, Fla. - A prosecutor who may have had a little too much to drink thought it would be funny to run naked across a parking lot and hop into a friend's car.

It was funny, until he jumped into the wrong car.

Albert Tasker, who works for the Monroe County State Attorney's Office, apparently got in the back seat of a car occupied by a woman waiting for her boyfriend.

The woman screamed and her boyfriend appeared. After the woman called 911, a Key West police officer found the naked Tasker in the middle of the parking lot.

Tasker, 28, was arrested Monday morning and faces charges of disorderly intoxication and indecent exposure, both misdemeanors. He has been placed on administrative leave without pay and his office is conducting an internal review of the incident.

"It's terribly embarrassing for both him and for us, and we'll wait to see how the facts unfold," said J. Jefferson Overby, the chief assistant state attorney for Monroe County.

Stolen Sperm?

CHICAGO - An appeals court said a man can press a claim for emotional distress after learning a former lover had used his sperm to have a baby. But he can't claim theft, the ruling said, because the sperm were hers to keep.

The ruling Wednesday by the Illinois Appellate Court sends Dr. Richard O. Phillips' distress case back to trial court.

Phillips accuses Dr. Sharon Irons of a "calculated, profound personal betrayal" after their affair six years ago, saying she secretly kept semen after they had oral sex, then used it to get pregnant.

He said he didn't find out about the child for nearly two years, when Irons filed a paternity lawsuit. DNA tests confirmed Phillips was the father, the court papers state.

Flaming Poop Extinguished

MILFORD, Neb. - It took nearly four months, but to the relief of neighbors for miles around, a burning manure pile has been extinguished.

David Dickinson, owner and manager of Midwest Feeding Co., said Wednesday that several weeks of pulling the 2,000-ton pile apart proved effective by late last week.

"We got far enough through it, that it quit," Dickinson said.

Dickinson's feedlot, about 20 miles west of Lincoln, takes in as many as 12,000 cows at a time from farmers and ranchers and fattens them for market.

Byproducts from the massive operation resulted in a dung pile measuring 100 feet long, 30 feet high and 50 feet wide. Heat from the decomposing manure deep inside the pile is believed to have eventually ignited the manure.

The Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality told Dickinson that his smoldering dung pile violated clean-air laws and it worked with him to extinguish it.

Man Bites Dog

EDINBURGH, Scotland - A blind man who allegedly bit his guide dog has been charged with animal cruelty.

David Todd is accused of sinking his teeth into the animal's head in a busy street, Scottish police said Thursday.

A police spokesman said: "Any attack on a defenseless animal, particularly one trained to help people, is appalling."

An eyewitness reported seeing the 34-year-old bite the dog and kick it repeatedly at a shopping mall on Feb. 8, a spokeswoman for Lothian and Borders Police said.

Officers arrested the suspect on Feb. 10 and charged him with animal cruelty and breach of the peace, the spokeswoman said.

Hidden Park Stays Hidden

CHACO CULTURE NATIONAL HISTORIC PARK, N.M. - This natural wonderland made it onto a list of 10 favorite hidden parks -- but the list hid it even more, by locating it in Arizona.

The Coalition of National Park Service Retirees this week released a list of members' favorite parks, but accidentally listed the archaeological site in Arizona instead of Chaco Canyon.

The 400-member group discovered the mistake and fixed it, said coalition coordinator Bill Wade.

"That mistake slipped through several reviewers, but really, we know it's in New Mexico," Wade said. "Having been there myself, I know how beautiful it is."

Chaco Canyon is home to massive ancestral Pueblo Indian ruins that date from A.D. 850 to A.D. 1250. Archaeologists consider it one of the most important sites in the Southwest.

Another Teacher-Student Affair

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - There's another story about a female teacher accused of having an illegal sexual relationship with a male student, but this one may be even more shocking.

Police in Sacramento, California, say they found a 30-year-old teaching intern having sex with a 16-year-old male student in her car over the weekend. It was parked behind an elementary school.

And they say the woman's toddler was also in the car, strapped into a car seat in the back.

The teaching intern has been placed on paid leave.

Police say she and the teenager had what they describe as an "ongoing consensual sexual relationship for several months."

The teenager was in a language and arts class that the woman had taught since September.

She's married. Her toddler has been released to her husband.

Thompson's Parting Shot

DENVER - "Gonzo journalist" Hunter S. Thompson wanted to go out with a bang. Friends and family say Thompson wanted his ashes shot out of a cannon. Historian Douglas Brinkley, a friend of Thompson's, says the family is looking into fulfilling Thompson's cannon request. The author killed himself Sunday at his Aspen, Colorado, area home. He was 67. Brinkley says Thompson was in declining health and probably planned his suicide well in advance. As for the final artillery salute, friend and neighbor Mike Cleverly says Thompson "truly loved that kind of thing."

And They Didn't Play His Requst, Either

CHICAGO - People will say almost anything on a radio call-in show -- even bragging about a bank robbery. A caller to a Chicago station boasted about how he took part in a bank stick-up. A bank employee was listening and was amazed by the details in the caller's description of the robbery. The bank employee called authorities and the FBI was able to trace the cell phone used to call the station. Randy Washington was arrested and has been charged with bank robbery, along with another man. The FBI is also searching for four other alleged accomplices. Washington denies the allegation. He says he called the radio station to win a prize.

The Car That Drives You

YOKOSUKA, Japan - Are you ready for a car that steers for you? Nissan is developing a computer-controlled system that will nudge a car back into its lane if it starts to swerve. The system combines video cameras and computer control to keep the car heading in the right direction. Nissan engineers say the system is disabled when the driver uses the turn signal to change lanes or make turns. Officials of the Japanese automaker haven't decided whether they'll offer the smart car technology in production models.

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